Sabotaging telecom infra, disrupting services in Punjab strongly condemned, says COAI, after protesters target 1,500 mobile towers
The COAI's remark comes a day after CM Amarinder Singh told the Punjab police to take strict action against those involved in destruction of mobile towers and disruption of telecom services in the state
New Delhi: Industry body COAI on Tuesday "strongly condemned" the sabotaging of telecom network infrastructure and disruption of services as a form of protest, after over 1,500 mobile towers were targeted during farmers' stir in Punjab.
Terming telecom services as "lifeline" for lakhs of customers, COAI's Director-General, SP Kochhar said disruption of telecom services is causing immense inconvenience to the common man, for whom mobile services are "essential".
"While we respect people's right to protest on any issue, sabotaging the telecom network infrastructure and disrupting telecom services as a form of protest by anyone is strongly condemned," COAI said in a statement.
Apex industry body Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI's) members include Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea.
More than 1,500 telecom towers in Punjab were damaged by farmers protesting against the three farm laws, disrupting services in some pockets. Power supply to towers that relay telecom signals was snapped and cables cut in several parts of the state as farmers vented their anger on the infrastructure owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani's firm Jio as they saw him along with infrastructure tycoon Gautam Adani as major beneficiaries of the new laws.
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Monday directed police to take strict action against vandalisation of mobile towers and disruption of telecom services in the state during the farmers' stir against the agri laws.
Asserting that he will not let Punjab "plunge into anarchy at any cost" and nobody can be allowed to "take the law into their hands", the chief minister had said he has been forced to toughen his stance as his repeated appeals to perpetrators of such acts had been ignored.
In a statement on Tuesday, COAI said telecom services are the lifeline of lakhs of customers, including students taking online classes, professionals working from home, people going for online health consultations in the tough time of COVID-19 .
"The disruption of telecom services, which are considered 'essential' under various enactments, is causing immense inconvenience to the common man for whom the mobile services are so essential," COAI's Kochhar said.
During the lockdown and the continuing pandemic, "warriors of the telecom sector" worked tirelessly to provide seamless and uninterrupted connectivity across the length and breadth of the country through doorstep delivery, infrastructure augmentation, and 24x7 network support, Kochhar added.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Farmers' Protest Updates: Will launch hunger strike on farmers' issues by Jan end in Delhi, says Anna Hazare
Farmers' Protest Updates: Farmers' Protest LIVE Updates: In a letter to prime minister Narendra Modi, Hazare said he had written to the Centre five times on the issue of farmers but had not received any response.
Farmer protests: Ninth round of talks ends, next meet on 19 Jan; govt urges unions to form informal grouping
Meanwhile, the Congress party shored up its attack against the Centre over the issue, with Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi leading protests in New Delhi
Farmer unions and opposition parties too had raised doubts over the composition of the panel, insisting that its members have been in favour of the three laws in the past. The panel is due to hold its first meeting on 19 January